BFD - Arson Division
Arson is the leading cause of fire property damage in the United States and is responsible for over 500 deaths each year (FEMA, 1998). In 1997, the FBI reported an average arson rate of 41 per 100,000 population. In this same year, the City of Bakersfield reported an arson rate of 71 per 100,000 population . This rate is 73% above the national average and has continued to grow.
Bakersfield Fire Department Captains are assigned to the Arson Division and conduct arson investigations. Their arrest rate is typically 16% above the national average. In 1998, they participated in a four-month multi-agency task force leading to the arrest of a suspect considered to be responsible for over 25 local brush fires that threatened structures in the City's urban-interface areas.
2009 The Arson Unit responded to 124 arson fires, 26 arrests were made.
2008 The Arson Unit responded to 157 arson fires, 29 arrests were made.
* Arson was down 8.2% for the first half of 2009 compared to the same time in 2008 nationwide. Cities having a population between 250,000 and 499,999 showed a 12.7% decrease in arson fires. (Source: NFPA)